PARIS Chip and solar manufacturing equipment vendor Applied Materials Inc. announced it plans to cut 130 jobs, on a total of 280, at its Applied Materials Switzerland SA Precision Wafering Systems Division in Cheseaux, Switzerland.
Applied Materials Switzerland SA is specialized in developing, manufacturing and marketing advanced wire-saws for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries. A third specialized market segment includes wire-saws for sapphire, quartz, germanium, glass and other brittle materials.
California-based Applied Materials said the implementation of a restructuring plan is the consequence of continuous decrease in solar activity.
In 2006, Applied Materials announced its intention to enter the solar panel equipment industry, leveraging its expertise in thin film deposition, high volume manufacturing technology, and advanced automation, process and quality control to drive down the cost of solar panel manufacturing.
One year later, Applied acquired HCT Shaping Systems SA, Swiss supplier of precision wafering systems for manufacturing crystalline silicon (c-Si) substrates for the solar industry.
In September, Applied Materials announced significant leadership changes, including the departure of veteran semiconductor equipment executive Tom St. Dennis.
Applied also announced it was combining its crystalline silicon and thin film solar businesses under the leadership of Mark Pinto, the company's chief technology officer. Pinto also assumes the role of senior vice president and general manager of Energy and Environmental Solutions.